Published April 28, 2020
We are pleased to present the third #COVIDByte, which starts a discussion on the changes in consumer habits and consumption patterns observed throughout recent weeks
The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the strategic role of the agro-food sector as a food supplier and its capacity to respond to consumption changes caused by the lockdown. So, how have consumption patterns changed in Spanish households?
The large hoarding and panic purchases that took place during the first days of the alarm state have settled down, and new consumption behaviors have appeared. The cost of the average food shopping bill increased, and fidelity to grocery shops has been altered. While large food chains benefited the most during the first days of the crisis, regional supermarkets are now experiencing an increase in their market share. Preferences regarding specific stores have also been affected by the security measures that have been adopted, such as the presence of disinfecting gels, gloves, and physical barriers. The figure of consumer 3.0 has emerged in the mass distribution sector, considerably increasing online sales of food. This forced various chains to temporarily suspend their online sales services in the initial moments of confinement and, on the contrary, has pushed small producers to start using this sales channel.
Moreover, the type of food consumed at home has also changed. Consumption in restaurants has been transferred to households. Moments such as the aperitif, which were commonly celebrated outside, are now celebrated indoors, which has increased purchases of beers and snacks.
The lockdown has encouraged many consumers to spend more time preparing food. More and more people are deciding to cook and bake food that they previously never imagined making. Increased time at home has brought households back to home cooking and toward elaborate dishes, focusing on enjoying and bringing out the healthier, more creative side of food. Thus, food preparation has become a method of both distraction and entertainment in family.
This situation brings new opportunities for changes and consolidation of new trends in relation to food consumption patterns. If there is something that characterizes this period, it is the exceptional nature and speed of the changes in consumption, as has been observed in recent weeks. This raises a question about the future; are these new habits a temporary result of the current exceptional situation, or are they here to stay?
The complete #COVIDBytes series:
0. Introduction (April 13)
1. COVIDByte #1 (April 14)
3. COVIDByte #3: Changes in Consumption Patterns (April 28)
4. COVIDByte #4: Impacts on prices (April 28)
6. COVIDByte #6: The Approach One health (May 11)